Walk Under July’s Buck Moon

© 2015 Jenny Le Art

by Sidne Baglini

July 5, 2020 at 9:30 pm

AT LAST—WE WALK!  We have the “green light” from the governor and so armed with our mandatory masks and exhibiting our best social distancing skills honed over the past 4 months, those who wish to join us for an evening stroll under a full moon are invited to gather in the Malvern Arts parking lot at 9:30. This may seem late but the moon doesn’t appear on the horizon until 9:02.

While the weather has not cooperated for us on the last 3 full moons, it is looking bright for us this month.  The moon will appear full from Friday night through early Monday morning so you will have plenty of opportunity to observe it, but the maximum fullness will occur at 12:44 a.m. EDT on Sunday.  

While I promised you a partial eclipse this month, it will take some determination to catch it.  You will need to be a “night owl” and arm yourself with binoculars or a telescope to get the full effect. If your 4th of July celebration runs late, you can top it off by turning your eyes to the moon at 11:07 p.m. when the Sun, the Earth and the Moon are lined up such that the Earth’s shadow begins to fall on the Moon. Because only a part of the Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon, it is called a partial penumbral eclipse.  For the next 2 hours and 45 minutes, it will increasingly appear that a nibble has been taken out of the top edge but this will be so slight that you will need your optical tools even as the eclipse reaches its peak at 12:29 a.m. on Sunday.

The Algonquin names for July’s full moon are the Buck Moon and Thunder Moon. July is when the velvet covered antlers first appear on bucks and it’s a month when we get frequent pop-up thunderstorms with one of my other favorite sky watching events–lightning. The Farmer’s Almanac reports it is also called the Hay Moon as this is a good month to “make hay.”

Other treats we hope to experience on our walk are Saturn and Jupiter in the east southeast sky and closer to home, the summer light show of the fireflies.  I may even try to attract one using a flashlight to mimic the signal of the female that lurks in the grass answering the male that is flying above.

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